Francis Lai – “International Velvet: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

The Sleeve:
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The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
Composers, like authors, are probably the most anonymous manipulators of public taste. We read or listen to their work, allow them to mould our thoughts and attitudes, and yet for the most part we are unaware of their personalities. Thus, when a film director is faced with the decision as to who should compose the musical score for his latest work the choice is a critical one, for music can totally alter the substance of a film. I have had to face this dilemma a score of times and I have never ceased to be amazed at my own good fortune. I have worked with some very distinguished composers, notably, Malcolm Arnold, John Barry, the late Muir Matheson, Michael Lewis, Stanley Myers, Michael Small and now Francis Lai. It is said that they order things differently in France, and certainly everything that Monsieur Lai serves up has a particular French flavor, as distinctive as the best French wine (which he does not touch, being that almost unique creation, a Frenchman with an aversion to the grape!)
 I first became conscious of, and subsequently hooked on, Francis’ music when I saw “A Man and A Woman” one afternoon in a cinema next to the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Since I am a hopeless romantic in all things, his score for that film made me an immediate and constant fan and I could not wait to find an opportunity for us to work together. As it happened I had to wait over ten years, for good composers are always in great demand and more often than not their heavy schedules do not coincide with the complicated timetable of a film.
 However, the moment I conceived “International Velvet” I staked a claim for Francis to be present and this time I got lucky. He was involved in early in the making of the film, coming to see me at Pinewood Studios by a tortuous route (since in addition to being a teetotaller, he also hates flying, and therefore his journeys from Paris to London take eight times as long as Concorde needs to get from Europe to Washington.)
 The themes he gave me underlined the emotion I had tried to evoke from my actors, for his music gets straight to the heart of the matter. This, to my mind, is the true function of those composers who concentrate on writing for the cinema. They work by commission, always the most difficult task for serious artists. They work to a rigid timetable and there is little or no room for error. Francis, ad his very talented arranger, Jean Musy, had an added disadvantage – to be charitable to their knowledge of the English language as it is spoken is non-existent, so recording sessions, which took place in England, were conducted in a frenzied atmosphere of sign language, since, I may as well admit, my knowledge of colloquial French as it is spoken, is only three verbs superior to theirs. But I guess artists have managed to surmount language barriers since the true emotion is universal.
 I am proud of the score I have for “International Velvet”, pleased that I have at last had an oppurtunity of working alongside a man I admire, whose talent to illuminate celluloid shadows on a screen with music that lingers when the lights come on.
 I think those of you who buy and play this record will know what I mean, for you have made the first down-payment on many happy memories.
 – Bryan Forbes

Personal Review:
Okay! So, Tatum O’Neal in “International Velvet“, it’s a good movie. But let’s listen to the soundtrack.
Also, on a side note. It’s instrumental, (so this review will be awful). The first song is “Main Title” (or is it “The Main Title“?) and I believe that it is slowly guitar strumming? (I suck at identifying instruments!), the second track is a lot better than the first, and well… I like it? “Escapade” is the name. (It’s like do-do-do DO DO!) – if I remember correctly, Velvet was the horse in the movie, and this song is titled “Velvet’s Theme” (therefore, it’s about the horse, right?) – it’s slowly, the soundtrack makes the movie come off like some sappy love story. (Then again, the liner notes were like overly useless.) Next song is “Sarah’s Theme” (who happens to be Tatum O’Neal’s character!) anyways, the song is the one featured in the trailer (see link above.) so far, this happens to be the song I like the most, not quite sure if the instrument they are using is a Moog, Organ or Piano… but ugh, something about it. The A-Side ends with the song “Birth of a Foal” (A HORSE WAS BORN!).

B-Side, please. “Cross Country” is like some weird, freaky disco instrumental. I like it, (I can just see people of the 70’s being all like “Oh baby. Let’s put on Francis Lai’s “Cross Country” from the movie “International Velvet“”) Anyways, “Seasons Come” is the next track, and it’s ever so similar to “Sarah’s Theme” from the A-Side. (tsk, tsk.) the next track is “First Love” (oddly, this is the ONE track I remember from the film itself.) It’s good! (So far, two out of ten songs.) Then comes the track “Olympic Torch” (which once more reminds me of “Sarah’s Theme”) and finally, “The End Titles” – WHICH surprisingly, are good! (Not in a sense of, “oh good! it’s finally damn over!“) but, they’re actually pretty decent.

Interesting Facts:
It has Tatum O’Neal all over it!

Track Listing:
A1 – Main Title
A2 – Escapade
A3 – Velvet’s Theme
A4 – Sarah’s Theme
A5 – Birth of a Foal

B1 – Cross Country
B2 – Seasons Come
B3 – First Love
B4 – Olympic Torch
B5 – End Title

Label:
MGM Records

Catalog Number:
MG-1-5405

Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Music by Francis Lai
Mastered by Bob MacLeod, Artisan Sound Recorders, L.A., California
Album Coordinator: Harry J. Lojewski

Other Albums I Own by Francis Lai:
Bilitis: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Love Story: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Released:
1978

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